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Children and AIDS

© UNICEF/NYHQ2009-1921/Pirozzi
A child orphaned by AIDS, reads at home on the outskirts of Mbabane, Swaziland.

With only 5 per cent of the world’s population, Eastern and Southern Africa is home to half the world’s population living with HIV; 48 per cent of the world’s new HIV infections among adults; 55 per cent of the world’s new HIV infections among children; and 48 per cent of the world’s AIDS-related deaths. 

Nine countries (Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe) have adult HIV prevalence rates over 10 per cent. 

At an estimated 26 per cent, Swaziland has the highest rate in the world, followed by Botswana (23.4 per cent) and Lesotho (23.3 per cent). 

With 5.6 million people living with HIV (17.3 per cent of total population), South Africa is home to the world’s largest epidemic.

In the past 10 years, new infections among adults have decreased by more than 50 per cent in Botswana, Ethiopia, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe; and by more than 25 per cent in Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, and Swaziland. 

Nonetheless, 17.1 million adults and children are living with HIV in this region, a figure that continues to increase as antiretroviral treatment ensures that millions of people with HIV now survive. 

Of the 960,000 pregnant women living with HIV in 2011, more than 90 per cent of them resided in just nine countries - South Africa, Mozambique, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Ethiopia. 

Out of the 2.2 million children who needed ART in 2011, only 33 per cent were receiving it.

The number of orphans due to AIDS continues to increase [2]. The region now has 10.5 million children who have lost one or both parents to AIDS. 

Of the 2.7 million 15–24 year-olds living with HIV in the region, 70 per cent are female. 



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